Recently, I attempted to fill out a job application.
After over 13 years of being “just a mom.”
Let me go ahead and list my relevant experience… some of which took place last century, in the previous millennium. And even if it was late 1990’s, it still sounds like a lifetime ago. My most “recent” relevant experience still puts me well over a decade behind the changes that have come to my previous job.
I dug through a box to attempt to find an old copy of my college transcripts so I could list my college GPA… which I kind of sort of remembered… at closing in on 20 years since college graduation, I don’t know if it was 3.87 or 3.76 or or if I pulled those numbers out of nowhere. And also at this far past graduation, those numbers don’t really say much about me.
I didn’t find my transcripts, though I did find a copy of my expired job license. My thought when I saw the expiration date was “wow, that didn’t expire as long ago as I thought.” It expired in 2008. Ten years ago. But since I last held that job back in 2005, 2008 was sounding recent.
Trying to figure out who to list as references was baffling. Many of the people who were my supervisors back then are now retired. Or have moved on to other places. Some, I wasn’t sure what their contact info was since the last time I worked, Facebook was not yet a thing, so once I left my job, I lost touch with those people. And even when I figured out who I could list, how do you even figure out the rest of the info? A question asked how long that reference had known me. Do I just list the amount of time that I worked for them or how long it’s been since I first met them or do I split the difference and list the number of years I worked for them plus the number of years that I’ve been back in touch, but leave out the years when we didn’t see each other?
The question about work accomplishments stumped me. I had accomplishments. But this many years past when I did those things make them seem irrelevant, as silly as if I were to write the honors I received back in high school(or what my college GPA was). I was tempted to list that I’d somehow managed to survive having three kids under the age of four as an accomplishment. Maybe even as relevant experience, since my application was in the education field. But I refrained.
Once I somehow managed to cobble together enough responses that the electronic application system would allow me to hit submit on my work, instead of beeping and giving me all sorts of errors about missing info, thinking about actually getting that job seemed like a ridiculous impossibility.
I felt confident enough that I could perform the basics of my old job. But I’d also be way behind. In the years since I’d been in a classroom, a lot has changed. I could still teach elementary math (yes, even the “new” common core stuff) but it would take me a while before I didn’t rely on a dry erase marker and whiteboard and could actually use a smartboard and all of the online programs that the kids use daily since they each have a laptop (it was considered a lucky thing if you had 2-3 computers in a classroom when I was teaching). Testing has changed, standards have changed, it wouldn’t be as simple as jumping right back in.
I’d be the old lady, stuck in the old ways, and struggling to figure out the new. Not insurmountable obstacles, but still a challenge to add on to all the changes that would come for my family as we adjusted to me working more traditional hours instead of the flexibility we’ve all been used to.
Even applying is intimidating.
I have no easy trick to filling out that application after so many years of being “just a mom” but I know that many of you are in the same boat. If you are, I just wanted to let you know that others get just how hard this is… and we haven’t even touched on having to replace the mom uniform of leggings and tees with real clothes.